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Netflix finally lets users disable autoplay for trailers

About. Damn. Time.

the Netflix logo, a big red N on a black background Image: Netflix via Polygon
Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

At long last, Netflix users can turn off what is arguably the service’s most annoying feature: autoplaying previews.

Netflix announced Thursday on Twitter that it has “heard the feedback loud and clear,” and has added the ability for users to decide whether they want to see previews of content automatically playing on the Netflix home screen.

The news will surely be heralded with celebration by Netflix’s 167 million subscribers around the world, many of whom have been complaining vociferously about this element of the browsing experience for years. That group includes none other than Hollywood director Rian Johnson (Knives Out, Star Wars: The Last Jedi), who, in a memorable 2018 tweet that currently has nearly 30,000 likes, joked that navigating the Netflix dashboard without triggering autoplay was his “current favorite console game.” The tweet in question spurred a writer for this very website to spend 650 words begging Netflix to let users disable autoplay. Nearly two years later, the option is finally here.

To clarify, there are two different types of autoplay on Netflix. The first is a feature that binge watchers love — Netflix will cue up and start playing the next episode of a TV show without the user’s input.

The second is the aforementioned preview autoplay, the bane of many a Netflix user’s existence. With this setting turned on, trailers for content on Netflix automatically begin playing behind the home screen — within mere seconds of a user hovering on a tile. This can be immensely frustrating for people trying to browse the dashboard for something to watch: If they pause for a moment to, say, glance at the synopsis of a movie, its trailer may begin blaring in the background while they’re still trying to read about the film.

Netflix now allows customers to toggle both types of autoplay. The settings are specific to individual profiles on a Netflix account, so if you share your account with, say, other members of your family, adjusting the setting on one profile won’t affect the others. But any changes to a profile’s settings will apply on all devices. Here’s how to change them.

How to disable autoplay on Netflix for previews

  1. Sign in to your Netflix account from a web browser.
  2. On the “Who’s watching?” screen, click on the Manage Profiles button below the lineup of profile icons. (If you’re looking at your Netflix dashboard, mouse over the profile avatar in the top right corner of the screen; you’ll see “Manage Profiles” in the menu, beneath the list of profiles.)
  3. Click on the profile for which you want to change the setting.
  4. Under Autoplay controls, uncheck the “Autoplay previews while browsing on all devices” box.

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